Conference Finals Predictions
By Ron Chambers
Well….I blew it last round. Two right out of four is a failing grade. But, I have to admit that this round is pretty tricky.
Gabon (56-24) vs. Milan (56-24)
This will be Gabon’s first match-up this postseason without home-court advantage. Will it make a difference?
Both these teams are efficient offensively and good defenders. They aren’t identical teams but have some real similarities. One advantage that stands out for Gabon is a 1.27 (#4) PPS versus 1.18 (#22) for the Mayhem.
Milan was pushed to the limit in the first round by a young team. But, the bounced back very well in the second round against a very good Barcelona team. The story for Milan has been the great play of Silvino Eufrazio who is averaging 6.8 points a game more in the playoffs than he did in the regular season. He has averaged 28.5 points, 9.9 rebounds, and 3.2 blocks. Oh, and Marvin Lee has been lights out passing at 9.2 assists. Bohm has also been excellent as he always is. Roe has been a strong scorer and rebounder. Bacchi doesn’t’ get the praise but he has been quietly very efficient with a 1.36 PPS.
When you look at Gabon’s playoffs stats no one stands out like on Milan’s roster. Carter has been very good raising his average by 1.7. Avery has raised his passing average to 8.2. The key to their success is excellent team play. They don’t have superstars but they are tough on defense and efficient on offense.
Choosing a winner in this series is hard. They are very closely matched. I tend to give a slight edge to Gabon because of their offensive efficiency. But, Milan has home-court advantage. It comes down to if efficient team play will win over the excellent individual play of Eufrazio and Bohm. So, I make this prediction with very little confidence.
Gaon wins series 4-3.
Brooklyn (74-6) vs. Colorado (64-16)
Colorado and Brooklyn are the only two franchises to break the 70 win mark. Colorado may not be back to what they were 10 seasons ago but they are darn good. Despite winning 64 games this year they surprised many observers by beating the Fighting Cocks. The big surprise though wasn’t the win but how they closed the series out with a dominant win over California when they had a full roster. It was impressive.
Some have written off the pioneers because they don’t have much depth and Kamara doesn’t score. They don’t ask much from their bench. They simply want them to come in, play hard, and not lose the advance. That last part has proven harder in the play-offs but they have performed well enough. Lyons and Devine get the press because of their scoring and they deserve it. But, in the playoffs, Kinsey and Henderson have been key. They lead the team with their high +/-. They are the glue players who defend well and play hard.
But Brooklyn. This team is impressive. They are currently on a 19 game winning streak, including two shut outs in the playoffs. Mario Bailey, Jarius Miles, and Omar Jefferson are all averaging 20 or more in +/- while four others also average double digits. But, they are facing a major test in Colorado. Don’t expect the same sort of dominance.
Brooklyn wins series 4-2